Are you the type of person who wants to do everything in their power to have a positive impact on other people, the environment, or society in general? Then this article is for you! Continue to read to learn how, as a nurse, you can make a genuine, positive impact on others and wider society.
- Pay Attention to How You Perceive Your Patients
As a nurse, your patients, specifically taking care of them, should be your first and number one priority. After all, the job of a nurse is to take care of people.
So, to best take care of them, you must pay attention to how you perceive your patients. What is meant by this?
Well, you should try to avoid having or displaying any bias or prejudices against your patients, as this can have a negative impact on the quality of your work and the patients’ experience and treatment.
So, to be the best nurse that you can be, you must work on strategies to combat your unconscious bias.
To do this, you must first focus on the problem. You should be able to review and evaluate yourself and your conduct. So, it is a good idea to ask yourself whether you are displaying any biases every now and again.
The difficulty in this is that you are probably unaware of the biases you may hold. If this is the case, then you must try everything you can to see and manage those blind spots. You should also be able to acknowledge and accept that there may be an issue, even if you do not see it.
Acceptance is key. You are a human before anything else, even before your profession as a nurse. So, with that comes an unintentional disconnect between your desire to treat all patients equally and the way factors such as race, gender, and socio-economic status shape your decisions and actions.
To tackle and combat any unconscious biases, you could:
- Work on Being More Personally Aware – to do this, you should try to look inwards and assess the values and beliefs that could lead to any and all forms of bias.
- Acknowledge the Problem – For you to tackle an issue, you must first accept that there is a problem. If you fail to do this, there is no hope for change.Importantly, acceptance comes with the added responsibility to make a difference. So, once you are aware that there is a problem, you must do everything in your power to solve that problem.
- Have and Show Empathy to Your Patients – You are less likely to act on any biases if you can understand and put yourself in the metaphorical shoes of your patients. It is not uncommon for the things that we do not know and that we are unfamiliar with to scare us.
This fear is unlikely (although it can be) the same or similar an actual fear or phobia. However, it can result in us acting differently. So, for example, if your personal values and beliefs are that being homosexual is wrong, you should not let your personal beliefs alter your actions in terms of treating a patient who identifies as homosexual.
Perhaps you are scared…not necessarily of the person themselves, but by their sexual orientation, which causes you to not give them the quality of treatment they deserve.
However, if you tried to empathize with their situation, you may see that they are a human just like yourself, and so they are to be treated in the same way you treat your other patients. Empathy is key.
- Education – the more you learn, the better equipped you will be to tackle any unconscious biases. After all, knowledge is power!
- Learn More and Get Educated
If you want to be a better nurse, you should focus on education. This is because we do not know everything. There is always something more you can learn, and for that reason, the saying that proclaims that ‘you cannot teach an old dog new tricks’ is erroneous.
You can learn and educate yourself through formal education. For example, you could extend your nursing knowledge by undertaking DNP programs, which are provided by Marymount University.
If you are already a nurse or training to become one, you should certainly consider enrolling in a DNP (aka Doctor of nursing practice) program because it will allow you to achieve the highest credential in nursing.
Since it is a practice-based doctorate, it will allow you to gain more hands-on practice and expertise in the nursing field.
Further, a terminal degree, such as the DNP, have many benefits, such as the fact that it can lead more directly to a job. Additionally, it will most likely make you earn more money in the long run since you will hopefully and eventually climb to the top of the hierarchy in your field.
Also, a DNP will help you secure more career opportunities as you will have a wider range of options to choose from.
- Have The Best Intentions for Your Patients
If you want to have and make a genuine and positive impact on the lives of your patients and society, you must want the best for them. In other words, you should prioritize the needs and wants of your patients.
There are many helpful ways to prioritize the needs of your patients. For example, you could:
- Put the patient before the equipment – if a patient is attached to a piece of equipment, you must put the patient first rather than focusing on the equipment. So, care should be given to the patient first always.
- Use Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to help you understand which of your patient’s needs you must focus on first. According to Maslow, physiological needs come before any psychological ones.
So, for example, if a patient is struggling to breathe, you should focus on helping them breathe first, rather than trying to tackle their depression.